What is MOOSE?

MOOSE is something between a Debian-derived distribution and a devops-ready virtual machine image. Confused? Learn more in our introduction to MOOSE.

What MOOSE Does

We manage our moose (the servers!) using SaltStack, deploying several hundred salt states to each server to configure:

  • Debian Linux on 64-bit CPUs
  • Nginx, Varnish and Apache for high-speed web serving
  • MySQL and automysqlbackup for databases
  • Postfix, Dovecot, AMaViS, ClamAV, Postfix.admin and other tools for handling email
  • Borg Backup for daily and weekly backups of your data
  • helpful scripts so that you can get on with building websites, sending emails, and getting the most out of your server

Welcome to your server

All servers managed by MOOSE also have a welcome page available at their web index. For example, our test server, moose.faelix.net. This page contains links to the services hosted on that server such as webmail and various administrative pages.

In addition to that public-facing web page, all servers managed by MOOSE have a file /root/README-from-faelix.txt containing the following:

  • hardware configuration
  • networking configuration
  • passphrases, passwords, and other important or secret data

This README file is only accessible by the root user using ssh or sftp. Be sure to take a copy of this file and keep it secure! It contains the passphrase to access your backups: without this passphrase you basically do not have a backup of your server. It is essential to restore anything from your backups, and unless you give it to us, nobody at Faelix has a copy of this passphrase.


We've written a whole page dedicated to MOOSE backups, how they work, how to make additional ones, and how to restore. But just in case you're in a rush to restore something, here's the cheat-sheet:

  • . /etc/faelix/moose/borgbackup to get the configuration loaded
  • export BORG_PASSPHRASE so you don't need to type the passphrase
  • borg mount $REPOSITORY /mnt to mount the backups so you can copy files out of previous versions
  • umount /mnt when you're done